Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
A Memoir


5 Critic Reviews

A downer, you may think. Not at all. Though horrifying, the book is incredibly funny.
-Teen Reads


A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland.

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

Angela’s Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt’s astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.

About Frank McCourt

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Frank McCourt (1930-2009) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents, grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to America in 1949. For thirty years he taught in New York City high schools. His first book, Angela's Ashes, won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the L.A. Times Book Award. In 2006, he won the prestigious Ellis Island Family Heritage Award for Exemplary Service in the Field of the Arts and the United Federation of Teachers John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education.
Published December 17, 1998 by Scribner. 369 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Apr 21 2013
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Angela's Ashes
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0


on Jul 20 2009

Brilliant writing, I mean, obviously, I have nothing to say that's not worshipful. Amazing, brilliant, fearful, desperate, grand.

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Entertainment Weekly

Reviewed by Vanessa V. Friedman on Sep 20 2008

...a page-turner of a book. And though the experience it tells of was individual, the point — and the story — is universal.

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Booklist Online

Reviewed by Patricia Monaghan on Jul 15 2013

...he found a way to love in that miserable Limerick, and it is love one remembers as the dominant flavor in this Irish stew.

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Teen Reads

Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth on Jan 20 2011

A downer, you may think. Not at all. Though horrifying, the book is incredibly funny.

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on Oct 21 2008

McCourt takes the voice of a smart, scrappy boy. He is both funny and forgiving.

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Veronica 4 May 2015

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